Sri Lanka's Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to raise the basic daily minimum wage of tea estate workers by 33 percent, local media reported here Friday.
According to the Media Division, the basic daily minimum wage of tea estate workers will be raised from the existing 4.1 dollars U.S. dollars to 5.5 dollars starting from March 1.
President Rajapaksa said that government support to the estate sector through development of infrastructure, tax exemptions and fertilizer subsidies, should also pass on to workers.
Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana was quoted in the Daily FT as saying that a financial relief package provided to Regional Plantation Companies would allow them to provide the daily wage increase.
According to research by the Institute of Policy Studies, a socio-economic research institute, the prevailing wage scheme for tea estate workers was below a living wage standard and in need of reform.
The tea production industry constitutes 10 percent of Sri Lanka's GDP, while tea products make up 12 percent of Sri Lanka's total export value.